Lusaka - Lack of value addition to agro products is hindering Zambia’s quest to produce competitive goods and services for the regional and international markets.
Despite its desire to become a middle-income country by 2030, Zambia is still struggling to create a niche market for its products and services in the region and beyond, hence the need to adopt new innovations through increased investment.
President Edgar Lungu has said there is a need to increase the production of a wide range of crops, livestock and fish in the spirit of diversification.
Officiating at the 92nd Agricultural and Commercial Show of Zambia on August 4, Lungu challenged the private sector to increase its investment in agro-processing of goods and services derived from the crops, livestock and fish sectors, as part of the diversification and industrialisation agenda.
Lungu said the agricultural sub-sector’s crops, fisheries and livestock have the capacity to spur the much-needed economic growth.
“When fully harnessed, the three sub-sectors have the potential to reduce poverty, enhance food and nutrition security, and create employment and wealth for many of our people, particularly those in rural areas,” he said.
Lungu commended the farmers for their tireless efforts during the 2017/18 farming season, which was characterised by, among other challenges, the fall armyworm and prolonged dry spells experienced from last November to January 2018, which affected production.
This resulted in Zambia losing 33% of the maize harvest, realising 2.4 million tonnes compared to 3.6 million tonnes harvested the previous season. Small-scale farmers need to secure their produce for household consumption during the ongoing marketing season while selling the surplus competitively to avoid inducing food insecurity.
The show was held under the theme: “Sustainable Economic Empowerment”. Agricultural and Commercial Show Society chairperson, Caroline Silwamba, reaffirmed this year’s theme by noting that it remained appropriate and served as a reminder to the business community to remain competitive for them to survive in the modern international community.
The annual showcase, which was held from August 1 to 6, attracted over 110 foreign exhibitors, representing 20 countries drawn from across Africa, Asia, Europe and South America. Local participation attracted over 1,000 exhibitors, an increase in the number of exhibitors compared to last year.